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A still photo from NTSB video of the Kobe Bryant crash site in Calabasas, Calif. (Courtesy NTSB/TNS)

 

The defendants in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Kobe Bryant's widow, Vanessa, have asked that the case be moved out of Los Angeles, arguing that they won't be able to get a fair trial in the city where the basketball legend played his entire career.

Island Express Helicopters and the estate of pilot Ara Zobayan are both named in the lawsuit as responsible for the death of Kobe, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and six other passengers in the Jan. 26 helicopter crash. They'd like the case to be moved from Los Angeles Superior Court to the nearby suburb of Orange County, California, where all the passengers lived. Bryant's fame, they say, will tip the scales toward his family in the minds of jurors before a trial even begins.

"Clearly Kobe's popularity extends far beyond Los Angeles," said defense lawyer Arthur Willner, who represents Zobayan's successor in interest, to NBC. "But there's no escaping the fact of the high regard in which Kobe was held in Los Angeles For many years he was the face of Los Angeles to a large extent."

Vanessa Bryant's lawyer has not yet commented on the motion.

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